Education is one of the fastest developing spheres in Northern Cyprus with schools in all major towns and villages. Its aim is to develop the abilities of Turkish Cypriot individuals of all age groups, both for their personal benefit as well as the society as a whole. Full time education is compulsory and free for all children between the ages of 5 and 17 in North Cyprus. Most of the schools are maintained from government funds; however, there are also many private schools which offer expanded curricula for the students of all ages.
Public North Cyprus Schools and Colleges
Public or government-funded schools and colleges in North Cyprus teach subjects in Turkish, and English, German, French and Russian are learnt by pupils as a second language. Expatriate children study in English, with Turkish as a second language. The Government schools and colleges are run in accordance with a curriculum appointed by the Ministry of Education for children aged 5 to 17.
The marking scheme for schools in North Cyprus functions on the basis of a rising scale of 1 to 10, and for children to proceed to the next year, group students must achieve at least mark 5. Assessment is accomplished by mid-term and end-of-term examination over the two terms per academic year and there are also reports issued twice a year – at the end of the winter and spring terms.
Private North Cyprus Schools and Colleges
Private schools and colleges use English (with Turkish as a second language) or Turkish (with English as a second language) and the third option is one of the foreign languages. Private schools offer education by charging an annual fee from their students. Private schools are monitored and have to be approved by the Ministry of Education and must follow the principals and guidelines relating to basic curriculum, assessment, disciplinary issues and standards of teaching. As the private schools provide longer hours, generally 8,30am-4pm, they are able to extend the curriculum and some follow the United Kingdom Key Stages, IGCSE, the Cambridge Young Learners Scheme, SATs and TOEFL.
Pupils of all schools in North Cyprus are to wear uniform usually. They have classes from Monday to Friday. The day in schools and colleges usually starts at 8.30 a.m. and finishes at lunch time (minimum) or at 3.30-4.00 p.m. (maximum). In private schools the day is generally longer: the classes usually start at 8.15-30am and finish at around 3.30-4.30 p.m. Schools and colleges have long summer holidays lasting from the middle of June to early September. Private colleges can often provide summer schools and organize a wide choice of activities and trips during the summer holiday.
The Educational System of Northern Cyprus is comprised of five main key stages:
- Pre-school education – provided by kindergartens, crèches and there are private nurseries for children between the ages of 4 and 6.
- Primary education – provided at elementary schools and designed for thechildren between the ages of 7 and 12).
- Secondary education – divided into middle school and senior high school for children at the age of 13-15 and 16-18 correspondingly).
- Higher education – provided by 6 universities in the TRNC: Eastern Mediterranean University, Near East University, Cyprus International University, Girne American University, European University of Lefke and Middle East Technical University.
- Informal education is aimed at providing education and training for those who are unable to benefit adequately from formal education.
A few example schools in North Cyprus are:
- English School of Kyrenia in Bellapais, Kyrenia
- Girne American College in Karaoglanoglu, Kyrenia
- Near East College in Nicosia
- Eastern Mediterranean College in Famagusta
There are also good local Government run schools in all major towns and villages teaching Turkish and English as a second language.